Drought Update

This January, Californians saw something pretty unusual: rain. The past few weeks have been delightfully soggy, with many McClatchy students running to dust off their old umbrellas. But the question still remains, does this newfound moisture mean the drought is over? Don’t buy new rain boots just yet.

In an article written by the San Jose Mercury News, according to California state climatologist Mike Anderson, “One week of rain doesn’t make up for years of historic drought. We are in a very deep hole.” This is due in part to the large size of California. Because it is such a big state, much more rain water is needed. Even though this rain is a great help, it is nowhere close to what is needed to get the state back on track.

But many others have different opinions on what constitutes the end of the drought. Some experts believe that the drought will be over when the reservoirs are full, because this will be when the water would overflow onto the roads. Others think that it will take “billions of gallons of overpumped groundwater to have a true recovery” (Mercury News).

The variation of rain in the state has also proven a challenge for water conservation efforts. Because many regions are getting enough rain, they may believe that the drought is over and thus be less inclined to take shorter showers or turn off the running sink. So the recent increase in water may be detrimental after all.

The final opinion on the matter will come from Governor Jerry Brown. He declared a statewide drought emergency on January 17, 2014. State officials meet every week as a part of the drought task force. They primarily discuss the water levels, but the members of this committee will give him their recommendation as to whether or not the drought can be officially declared over. It will be up to him to declare the drought over. Until then, any water is welcome.

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